What's new? Well, 2002 for one thing. And a generous handful of local
stage productions preparing to hit the boards in the early months of the
First out of the blocks, as usual, is South Coast Repertory, reviving
Moliere's "School for Wives" next weekend. The professional troupe and
Moliere have enjoyed a close relationship over the 37 years SCR has
called our backyard home, beginning with its very first production,
UC Irvine delves into the world of fantasy on Jan. 24 with Conte Carlo
Gozzi's fairy tale "The Love of Three Oranges," an 18th century piece of
commedia dell'arte wizardry. This show, which will run through Feb. 2,
will be staged in the Winifred Smith Hall on the UCI campus.
Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors" hits the board of Orange Coast
College's Drama Lab Studio on Jan. 24 for a two-weekend engagement. It's
the college's annual stab at the Bard of Avon, this time in a highly
comic vein with this tale of double mistaken identity.
"Driving Miss Daisy," which enjoyed an estimable production at the
Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse a few seasons ago, turns up Jan. 25 at the
Newport Theatre Arts Center. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama will run
for five weekends.
South Coast Repertory kicks off its last year of public productions on
the Second Stage -- they'll move to the new Judie Argyros Stage in the
fall -- with the world premiere of "Making It" by Joe Hortua. Careers and
relationships in bustling Manhattan form the theme for this new play.
Several plays have their genesis in "Hamlet," notably "Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern are Dead." UCI will present another, "Fortanbras Gets
Drunk," from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9 in the university's Studio Theater. It's a
comedy based on the events in "Hamlet," but centered on the new ruler's
inventive scheme for (literally) keeping his head.
Screen star Ann-Margret arrives in Costa Mesa on Feb. 5, heading the
revival of the musical "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." This comic
tribute to a now-eliminated institution of the Lone Star state will be in
town only through Feb. 10.
The hills --- or at least the Lab Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa --- will be
alive with "The Sound of Music" from Feb. 8 through March 3 at the
Trilogy Playhouse. This popular Rodgers and Hammerstein musical
inaugurates the Trilogy's third season in our backyard after five
formative years in South County.
"Metropolitan Operas," a collection of short plays by Joseph Pintauro,
will bring OCC back into action Feb. 9. These sketches will be presented
by the college's student-run Repertory Theatre Company in the Drama Lab
The industrious UCI drama department returns to the spotlight Feb. 28
with "Promenade," an Obie-winning, off-Broadway hit musical mixing
farcical comedy with political satire. It plays through March 9.
"Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" may be an oldie, but
the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical has seen a lot of local action
lately. Its latest appearance will be March 1-3 only at the Irvine
Barclay Theatre as a special production of Costa Mesa's Vanguard
And, no, we haven't forgotten the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse, which is
going dark for the first two months of 2002. Having failed to secure the
rights for "Steel Magnolias" last fall, the theater has made room in its
March schedule to fit the Robert Harling seriocomedy into the March 16 to
April 7 slot that was originally earmarked for a revival of "Charley's
These are the first entries in what promises to be an industrious year
of local theater in 2002.
* TOM TITUS writes about and reviews local theater for the Daily
Pilot. His stories appear Thursdays and Saturdays.